Mumbai Weekend Getaway – Sanjay Gandhi National Park at Borivali

We’ve always loved the idea of trekking but we didn’t know where to begin. More importantly, we didn’t know if we were fit enough for it.

In the past, we visited National parks in India like Tadoba, Corbett and Ranthambore. These required atleast 2-3 days to visit and prior planning to have a rewarding jungle safari. So, we were always on the lookout for experiencing wilderness through a short and spontaneous trip.

The idea of having a national park surrounded by Mumbai, one of the most populated cities in the world, was so farfetched, we never seriously considered it as forest territory, but more of a ‘picnic’ spot.

We only realized this treasure when Dhruv and Sapna went with a trek group on the Shilonda trail at Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) or Borivali National Park, as it is popularly called. And then followed a trek by ourselves (led by Mahesh, the captain!) during the monsoon. That is when it became a must-visit for every year.

 

Between touristy trips, a jungle safari, the mini train ride, boating, drive to Kanheri caves and using it as a location for photo shoots, we missed out on exploring a trek.

 

The Kanheri Trail at Sanjay Gandhi National Park

Sanjay Gandhi Nationall Park Trek. Kanheri Trail
The Kanheri trail – starting from the ticket counter upto the Kanheri caves and back, is a great morning trek that you can do at your own pace. Distance: 6.1 km one way.

 

Borivali National Park. Kanheri Trail
The National Park is a great destination throughout the year. We’ve experienced completely different environments during the monsoon and summer. The Kanheri trail is shaded and safe for a beginner level trek that can be done at your own pace.

 

sanjay gandhi national park, mumbai, cycling trail
If you are done with trekking- try jogging or cycling. Cycles are available for hire at the national park entrance.

 

 

If none of this is exciting so far, remind yourself you are in territory that is a ‘real’ forest with one of the highest density of leopard population.

borivali national park, mumbai, india, forest trail
The idea of a real forest, with one of the highest density of leopards, right in the middle of the city is so farfetched that it is yet considered only a picnic spot by many. Be sure to follow the guidelines laid out by forest officials, especially about traveling with kids, as the possibility of a leopard encounter is more real than it seems.

 

Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Mumbai, India
Monsoon is a great time to visit, when the forest is flourishing and streams are full. It can be a challenging trek if it’s raining heavily.

Sanjay Gandhi National Park. Forest Habitat

 

We’ve walked streets, beaches, caves and forts, but walking in the quiet of a National Park amongst bird calls and animal sounds is like meditation. According to the Rig Veda, a morning walk truly opens all your senses. We feel a complete shift in energy levels every time we walk this path.

sanjay gandhi national park forest habitat

 

sanjay gandhi national park habitat

 

After all your other senses have been gratified, don’t leave your taste buds behind.

On the trail, we came across the tribal community that stays inside the park selling some local produce. We were delighted to find no processed or packaged foods – but some fruits and nuts.
This is certainly the stuff you would eat if you lost your way into a jungle. Or if you met Mowgli he would offer you some!

 

 

This green or yellow colored fruit is called Star fruit or Carambola. It has a mild sweet and tangy taste. When it is sliced sideways it produces these stunning star shaped pieces! The heart shaped leaf serves as packaging and as a plate. It easily wins the award for best packaging design.

Walk as if you are kissing the earth with your feet – Thich Nhat Hahn


Points to remember when trekking at Sanjay Gandhi National Park:

  1. The Sanjay Gandhi National park is shut on Mondays.
  2. Expect a queue for tickets on weekends and public holidays.
  3. Paid parking is available inside the park.
  4. Carry water and a snack that will energize you during the trek. Watch out for monkeys- they can get pesky and dangerously close when they spot food.
  5. When traveling with kids on this trail, check guidelines laid out by the forest officials.
  6. Wear good trekking footwear. The trails can also get slippery during monsoons.

You can find more information about the park here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sanjay_Gandhi_National_Park

Visit SGNP’s official website and check their activities here: https://sgnp.maharashtra.gov.in


We hope this post has inspired you to trek at Borivali National Park. Do share your experiences with us. We will be doing another trail soon!

6 Comments

  1. Really nice photographs. Love the pictures laid out next to one another of the same view in different seasons. Have a great day!

  2. Thank you Animesh! Happy to know you liked the pictures. We loved your blog too, enjoyed reading – A look back at your 2016. Will surely be back for more…

  3. Lovely photo story – especially the fruits the local sell!

    1. Thank you Ankita! we are glad you like it! If you haven’t, must try those fruits.

  4. Always loved spending my Sundays here. Reading this brought back those memories. Who needs central park and artificial gardens when we have this natural forest in the heart of the city?

    1. Our sentiments exactly Eisha! Infact, we remembered you when we went there. Want to do the Jambhulmal trail next. Eager to see Mumbai from its highest point.

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